“Where Are the Missing Masses?” by Bruno Labour

Bruno Labour, being born in 1947 in France, today is a famous and influential anthropologist, sociologist of science and theorist in the sphere of STS (Science and Technology Study).  In his work “Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts”, which was written in 1992, he explores the sociological phenomena which are unknown or were neglected by the society. Bruno states that sociologists’ main task is to invent such social laws and moral norms which people will follow without any doubt. However, the practice shows that the main key that must be very moral and highly social is always missing. Such keys are called “missing masses”. However, Latour insists that these missing masses will soon be found if sociologists stop concentrating only on humans and switch their attention to the nonhumans.

The modern sociological theory does not count nonhuman masses as a necessary component of this teaching and that is, as the author of the book states, the main mistake.

Being a theorist of the STS Labour clearly explains his theory on examples of different technical devices and technologies. He uses a bright example of driving belts in order to explain the existence of these so-called “missing masses”. He insists one more time that in order to find harmony in all spheres of life ”“ political, social and spiritual ”“ we should take into account nonhuman masses that exist around us and contribute to any social or political phenomenon. The work is an attemp to show links between sociology and technology. Technological objects being of nonhuman origin make the part of the human surrouding and knowing this aspect sociologists would be able to find that strongly social and highly moral element.

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